GSL Round of 32, Group F Battle Report
It's Valentines Day, a day for romance, teddy bears, chocolate and GSL! Group f comes onto to our screens with a couple of fan favourites taking main stage. With the round of 16 drawing ever closer, it remains to be seen who else can join the 10 qualified players so far.
It's a beautiful group, lead in tandem by two big names, SoO and INnoVation. These two big hitters will be the names on everyones lips, but they are flanked by two cheeky protoss players, Hurricane and Creator.
In a seemingly straight forward group, it would seem very probably that SoO and INnoVation get out of this group. Starting with the zerg player and 2017 Blizzcon finalist, SoO will looking to become the second zerg to advance out of the round of 32. Representing team Chivo, SoO is still one of the top zergs in Korea. Despite an average back end of last year, he will be hoping to make it into the next round to start his year right. Qualifying to GSL on the first day, wins over Classic, MC, aLive and Cure in pre season shows that SoO has not been slouching. If we see him play INnoVation today expect a close series, the two played in the Olimoleague main event in January, with scores of 2-1 and 5-4 in INnoVation's favour.
The terran might of INnoVation is back in 2019 and looking to avenge his sub-par 2018. Two quarter final berths were as good as it got in premier tournaments last year for the machine, missing out on Blizzcon as a result. He looks hungry and in form this year though, progressing through some tough brackets to qualify for both IEM Katowice and WESG.
These two players will face off against the underdogs in the group, namely Hurricane and Creator. A round of 12 finish at last years IEM was as good as it got for Hurricane last year, as he looks very hard pressed to get out of his group. Don't count him out in PvP however, where he has claimed some serious scalps over the years, with Zest and herO falling 3-0 and 2-0 to him in the past few weeks. Jin Air's fifth particpant in the GSL, Creator could be the one to cause an upset though. A veteran of the scene and indeed the runner up of Blizzcon 2012 it will be seen if the team house can support him to claim another round of 16 berth for Jin Air. It could be possible if he faces INnoVation, he beat him twice in the GSL qualifiers.
SoO vs Creator – ZvP
Our first match saw a normal PvZ opening with both sides looking to play a standard game. A swell of lings by SoO saw the archon drop delayed for Creator, putting the tempo in SoO’s favour. The archon drop looked to deny the fourth but the prism was sniped by queens, putting Creator in a very tough position. From there Creator seemed to crumble, flying another prism with two archons inside straight into a bunch of hydralisks. Another ambitious moveout was crushed by SoO and with the Chivo player 60 supply up, he pushed into the protoss third and took game one.
Game two saw us on Kings Cove, with everyone hoping that Creator could put up a better performance than game one. Standard openings were saw once again, with an oracle following into an archon drop. The archon drop was followed into six gateways and charge, with Creator looking to put some pressure on SoO. With the warp prism distracting, a slow pylon was used to warp in his reinforcements. Twelve drones died, sending SoO behind in workers as he looked to tech into mutalisks. Creator had scouted the spire before though, with the initial mutalisks proving to be little more than paperweights. SoO doubled down with the mutalisks, unaware of the massive phoenix count building up. The mutalisk count looked to do damage, but ran into a massive phoenix count, dying swiftly to propel Creator into the lead. SoO was very behind in tech, and although a big push by Creator wasn’t perfectly controlled, SoO was too far behind, sending the initial series into a decider.
Game three saw a robotics facility first play come out from Creator. A defensive slip lead to Creator letting zerglings inside, receiving a full scout. An immortal and two adepts were loaded up in a warp prism, poking SoO as Creator went into a third base. A dark shrine followed but saw no damage taken, With SoO pushing at a big supply advantage. The game threatened to end, but Creator held, his massive immortal count chewing through SoO’s roach hyrdralisk composition. The momentum was with SoO though, trying a one two punch, hitting Creator’s fourth as a big drop hit his main. Another hold followed, but a lack of fourth base had begun to put a timer on Creator. SoO maxed out again and this time with a combined push overwhelmed Creator to take the series 2-1. A win for SoO, but in truth, neither player looked nowhere near their best.
SoO 2-1 Creator
Hurricane vs INnoVation – PvT
Our largest map, Kings Cove was to be the battlefield for game one. A standard three gate blink met a 1-1-1 expand, in what has become standard openings for this match up. A very passive game saw Hurricane move into colossi technology. INnoVation making the first move with a small push into a double drop. These were defended well by Hurricane, with the game still finely posied and the colossi number continuing to rise. INnoVation found himself 20 supply up and a brilliant move saw two colossi picked up. Now in the 10th minute, INnoVation contuined to power up, pushing with the addition of liberators and a 50 supply lead. Another gruelling fight was held but INnoVation continued to power up and from here it only seemed like a matter of time. Another push in the 12th minute found it’s way into the third and with Hurricane unable to hold off the endless push, gg was called.
The second game saw Hurricane bust out a stargate and head into three oracles. Whilst he was annoying, little damage was done to INnoVation and at 6:30 we saw the terran player push out with a tank and raven, complimented by some bio. Hurricane’s stargate saw him with slightly less ground forces than normal and INnoVation took advantage, a beautiful minefield saw Hurricane unable to take a good engagement, INnoVation steaming through for a quick 2-0.
Hurricane 0-2 INnoVation
SoO vs INnoVation - ZvT
With no surprises in the opening two matches, our winners match saw the two titans face off with SoO vs INnoVation. With a LOTV match history record of 14-1 in INnoVation’s favour it would be seen if SoO could begin to cut the deficit. Normal openings from both players were to start on Year Zero, with INnoVation going into a quick third command centre. A very passive game saw a spire by SoO, with both players macroing up and getting their upgrades. A small 1-1 push by INnoVatio was shut down by SoO. Our next point of conflict saw nine SCV’s killed by mutalisks, with INnoVation seemingly not ready for them with no missile turrets prepared. The mutalisks flew back, joining the rest of his army to crush another push so convincingly that a 40 supply lead opened up. SoO pushed his advantage and INnoVation was down, a quick gg coming out to leave him 1-0 down.
Our second map saw INnoVation try a timing push, coming at 4:50 with a cloaked banshee and eight hellbats. It seemingly caught SoO unprepared and without any banelings or roaches and despite a valiant fight, game two was over as suddenly as it began, our winners match thrown into a decider.
Game three saw SoO take the position as aggressor, a pool first went into a very quick roach warren. Only five roaches and a ravenger were made, but it killed 16 SCV’s, with SoO powering into more than triple the worker count of his terran opponent. Three hellions failed to kill any drones and a ragtag push by INnoVation also failed to do any damage. A simple SoO push saw him take the series and become only the second zerg in the round of 16.
SoO 2-1 INnoVation
Creator vs Hurricane – PvP
The fight to face INnoVation was on in our losers match, as Hurricane faced off against Creator. Our first map saw Creator with the earlier nexus, Hurricane moving into double oracle. Aggressive adept by Creator saw Hurricane assume a defensive position with his oracles. After cleaning up the aggression, Hurricane went for an attack with three oracles and stalkers, backed off 3 gateways. The attack crushed through Creator, who tapped out to give Hurricane a quick 1-0.
Hurricane had been known for his PvP prowess and it would be seen if he could claim a quick 2-0 against Creator here. An early nexus by both saw different follow ups, Creator into a forge with Hurricane into a robotics and additional gateway. Pressure was put on by Hurricane, but with an immortal out he was unable to find any damage, with Creator sitting pretty 10 supply up and with the faster upgrades. Both players powered up from here, the supply gap vanishing. In a strange fight, both armies met in the middle of the map, Creator taking a better fight to level up the series 1-1.
New Repugnancy is considered a fantastic map for cannons, but sadly both players refrained and once again set off into standard games, with stalker sentry coming out for both sides. Creator once again moving into a quick forge, while Hurricane preferring a robotics facility. Both sides squabbled to little effect as they mirrored each others build, going into the archon immortal chargelot composition preferred these days by protoss players. Creator moved into a fast this base, with Hurricane having to push to try and reduce the economic deficit. Unable to find a good fight, Hurricane backed off, leaving Creator to chase down his army. In a great fight, Creator used some great pick up micro to keep ahead, moving onto face INnoVation in the deciders match.
Creator 2-1 Hurricane
Creator vs INnoVation – PvT
Whilst Innovation seemed to be the favourite going into this decider match, their history could not be ignored, Creator beating INnoVation twice in the GSL qualifiers. Would this group end in a shock? Automaton saw Creator open into a robotics facility first, in a similarity to Dear’s play earlier in group a. An earlier third base went into colossi, as INnoVation pushed out at the six minute mark. A harass saw Creator defend well and importantly keep his colossi alive. Another follow up push failed to make a mark on Creator, as the Jin Air player continued to pump out colossi. INnoVation in a throwback to the earlier game against Hurricane, went into mass liberator instead of viking. Another doom drop caught Creator slightly out of position and forced him to fight into the powerful liberation zones. Creator lost too much, with a side army crushing into the third base to take a 1-0 lead.
Another robotics first opening from Creator, although this time a prism and four gates came out of the Protoss player, Creator looked to get aggressive, but a nicely timed tank and a cyclone snipe on the warp prism shut down any hint of aggression. Another warp prism was made, but a big push by INnoVation killed 13 probes and put him securely in the driving seat. Creator was down but not out, the protoss player determined to try and find a way back in this match. It was not to be however, as another doom drop, backed up by liberators caught Creator with no anti air. INnoVation becoming the second player to advance out of group F.
Creator 0-2 INnoVation
Qualified Players – SoO, INnoVation
Series of the Day – SoO vs INnoVation.
Game of the Day – Hurricane vs INnoVation game one.
GSL Code S continues on Saturday, with TY, FanTasy, Impact and Leenock.
All stats courtesy of Aligulac and all pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and GSL.